An OG of the LOB, BB is getting DFA’d. If there is a late-career Brownaissance as a safety, it will not come with the Seattle Seahawks.
Brandon Browner’s dismissal is no terrible surprise considering how near that word is to dismal—which is how he performed for the Saints in 2015—and his recent placement on the depth chart in preseason games, at age 32. But a movement of hope swelled around a possibility that Browner’s size could counteract his reduced speed in matching up with large receivers on the inside, like he did for New England in 2014. And it wasn’t just a fan theory. The coaches highlighted and so protracted this idea that it became like an Area 51 sized zone of faith for some Seahawks fans: Even when the exhibitions showed there was nothing to see but wasteland, this cult of certainty insisted there must be vaults hidden underneath.
“He is a monster of a football player,” Pete Carroll said after the first day of training camp. “He is such an unusual stature person at his position that he just jumps out. We are going to figure out how to utilize him.” The italics are mine, and it was a month ago, but that sentence explains why, even if I wasn’t sure I could trust Browner’s eroded skills, as recently as Monday’s final cuts preview I still believed the staff believed they were going to try.
The team can afford the departure, surely. Kapadia credited the emergence of undrafted rookie Tyvis Powell for Browner’s unseating, so presumably this elevates the former Ohio State Buckeye to the final roster. Browner’s veteran’s minimum contract was not guaranteed and won’t cost Seattle against the salary cap.
But there too came a second, parallel (or parapsychological) idea that Browner was here to bring the “Boom” back to the Legion of Boom. This refers to bold hits and physicality, but also an identity. The same Bob Condotta report supplying Carroll’s quote above notes how a Browner play on the ball in practice that first day “caused Richard Sherman and Kam Chancellor to race across the field for a chest bump.” We’ve heard such liveliness is nothing out of ordinary for Seahawks training, so mentioning it implies a narrative about Browner’s return reinforcing the B in that other L.O.B:
#Brotherhood pic.twitter.com/aHCppjVomQ— Seattle Seahawks (@Seahawks) August 29, 2016
That was the very next @Seahawks tweet after the post announcing Monday’s roster moves including Browner’s cut. Kam Chancellor even endorsed it with a re-tweet. But you can see how a close-knit group might turn feelings of brotherhood to bitterness to find one of its members suddenly discarded. Could it cancel any of the good vibes that have been flowing around this club ever since Michael Bennett reported on time?
With or without Browner, Seattle’s defensive backs are big boys. They know all about the business of football and the mercilessness of competition. Keenan Lambert is Chancellor’s actual brother, and everyone knows he’s getting cut. Where good football writing is about using evidence to cut through narrative, it’s definitely speculative and intangible to suggest the players simply feeling some kind of way about Browner might derail the season.
But how many people already believe Chancellor’s discontent from his contract dispute, or diplomatic conspiracies about the decisive play of Super Bowl XLIX, undermined the locker room at the beginning of 2015? Or credit the eight-game run at the end of 2014 to the original “Love Our Brothers” team meeting after the Kansas City game that year?
On the other hand the mojo interpretation has long held that Pete Carroll gained regard from his players way back in training camp 2010 by cutting former USC reclamation LenDale White. The players who matter see all the same workouts as coaches. They know who belongs and who doesn’t. Ball don’t lie.
Since we can now guess there wasn’t any sub rosa excellence Seattle was hiding underneath its playsheet, and the Browner we saw in preseason was the same Browner in practice, then yeah: Browner had to go. As long as the organization handled it well and it didn’t feel like a betrayal to them, his teammates probably shouldn’t be upset. Nobody has made any public farewells or other comments so far.
The sad part is, if that’s so that his peers knew, I don’t know if Browner realized it, or believed it. Or anyone told him. Using face swap a few weeks ago, Browner compared his second act to Tupac’s resurrection.
But that messianic Tupac was a hologram, or a bunch of remixed and previously rejected recordings or whatever. Tupac is still dead right?
Anyway, as long as we’re mythmaking, you can always keep in your heart a dream that Browner’s elder presence and appetite for throwing elbows made a thicker strap of leather out of Powell as he climbed out of free agency into the intimidating warrior’s roster spot. Before Carroll opened his mouth about nickel matchups and unique roles, that’s all we really needed from B.B. in 2016.
Browner will always be remembered for his advanced entry into the NFL from the Canadian Football League’s Calgary Stampeders in 2011, for winning a championship with the Seahawks in 2013 while under suspension, and another Super Bowl a year later in which he did play. Also for caber-tossing Jerome Simpson into Puget Sound.
“I was their representative, they would never harm me” ~Tupac Amaru Shakur